I can only imagine what it must’ve been like, waking up on a Sunday in Honolulu to a text message warning me to seek shelter immediately, due to an inbound nuclear ballistic missile. The January 14 text was sent in error, but it took 38 minutes for the government to send an “all clear” message to relieve the panic. Many Hawaiians thought their world was about to end that day. As I read Joe Dowd’s column in the Long Island Business News, I wondered: if the world were to end, could anything we say to anyone matter at all? Here’s my exploration of the communications that count.
It sounds simple, but how many people in our lives know they really matter to us? Do they feel it in their hearts and souls? We tend to send greeting cards with platitudes, but we don’t always personalize them for all our friends and family. It might feel corny or cliche to try, but I feel that it’s important to tell people I care. When I hear the words, it matters to me.
I’ll never forget the times when my friends and family stayed up late into the night to help me through a crisis. I’ve gotten lots of good advice and encouragement in my life at just the right times, but I’m not sure if the wonderful, supportive people in my life have always felt appreciated. We can’t always know when we make a difference in someone’s life, so those pivotal moments matter even more.
Tell The Stories
Stories enrich our lives and our appreciation of each other, so I’ll tell you a story. As a blind person, I use a cane to navigate safely. When I was a high school freshman, there was a rumor going around that I needed to concentrate on counting my steps and shouldn’t be disturbed in the hallways. Melissa King, a senior, decided to find out if the rumor was true, so she introduced herself and asked me. I laughed and told her that I use landmarks to know where I am, such as fire doors or carpets. I imagine myself touching a map of the building to find my way, so I might count hallways, but there’s no need to count my every step. She laughed with me, and we discovered we were both interested in some of the same school clubs. We started a friendship that still lasts to this day, all because she had the nerve to ask a question that others would not ask. She reminded me of this early incident a while back, and I now enjoy sharing it with others.
I know what I’m going to do. I’ll thank some close friends for help that I’ll never forget. I’ll write down the fun and funny moments as they happen so I can continue to relive them with others. I’ll stop letting opportunities to give genuine compliments slip through my fingers.
What Will You Do?
Great news: we don’t have to wait until the end of the world to talk about how much the good people in our lives matter to us. How will you share the message?